Savannah searched frantically for Nim, wondering where he could be and how to call him, when Phil jumped out from the hallway and into the kitchen, not even a few inches from her and nearly scared her to death. Phil smiled in a goofy way that only he could accomplish.
Savannah said, startled and shocked, "Who let you in?"
Phil, still smiling, said, "I knocked," Then he added, "How's Miles?"
Savannah walked past him to continue her search for the creature, "Not good – I need to find Nim"
Phil followed her. He knew a lot more about her brother's, Miles, secret pet than Savannah did – he helped raise it. But the only person Nim liked, or would even listen to, was Miles. Pushing this aside, he stated, "I didn't know you knew his name"
Savannah ignored him. "Nimmie?" Savannah cried out hysterically.
Phil continued to follow her, hesitatingly pointing out, "So, you know, Miles doesn't really call him like that."
"Then why don't you tell me how?" Savannah demanded
"I don't know; you gotta ask Miles?" Phil asked defensively.
"I thought you both were like…" Savannah started until Phil interrupted her.
"No, that's Miles, he has the ESP." Then he added, "I don't think he needs to call him."
"Yah, well…" Savannah turned around to Phil, her hands flew up into the air and then landed on her head in utter desperation.
"Look," she continued, "Look, just…you look down here, I'll…I'll look upstairs." She finished despairingly, turning and walking around the kitchen's island and toward the stairs.
Phil watched her leave; this behavior was new to him and he was having trouble taking it in. She was the one he and Miles always teased when they were younger, they still did, but just there he could have sworn she was about to cry. Why did she need Nim anyway? Miles looked really bad when he passed out in class, but they had poured rubbing alcohol on the bites on his leg; they weren't infected! So why was she panicking because Nim was hiding? It was all incredibly weird for him.
"Nimrod?" he heard Savannah calling.
He shook his head and began his search of the downstairs floor. To Phil's knowledge, Nim didn't usually hang out downstairs unless he was trying to get out of the house – or away from Miles and Phil with the dog crate.
Phil walked around the house, checking all the windows and doors. Locked. Nim was probably in the house.
"Nim?" Savannah shrieked. Phil could hear her moving things upstairs in an attempt to find Miles' pet sea-creature. He wanted to point out that that would just scare Nim away, but thought better of it on account that then they'd have a clearer idea of where he was.
Also, he'd seen her angry before and didn't want that on his case at the moment.
He completed his route around the downstairs part of the house, ending at the front door. He looked down the hallway that would lead him back to the kitchen. The closet door was slightly ajar, so he opened it. Nothing could be deciphered among the grays closely packed together in the shape of hanging coats and the junk on the shelf. Reaching for the light switch, Phil scanned over the various misshapen items scattered on the shelf and among the shoes.
The light wouldn't turn on. If flickered once and went out. When everything was back to normal, he'd have to tell Miles that the closet needed a new light bulb. He looked at it and tried flicking the switch again. The lights in the whole house sputtered out. That wasn't normal.
"What are you doing to the electricity?" Savannah yelled.
The kitchen lights came back on. Phil walked towards them. Nimrod had a thing with electricity, was he in there?
He heard something small fall off the shelf of the closet as the lights turned back on. He turned just in time to catch an elongated tail fin rounding the corner at the other end of the hallway.
"Down here!" Phil called to Savannah, following Nim.
He heard her run down the stairs. "You found him?" she called.
"He went this way," Phil responded. She hurried after him. When she caught up with him he asked, "Why are you looking for Nim, anyway?"
"They need to see him."
"At the hospital!"
"Yes, at the hospital, where else?" Savannah snapped without much energy as she began looking around the room that they'd walked into.
"No, dude, if you take Nim there…"
"If I don't take Nim there they'll have no idea how Miles got his fever!"
"Miles is in the hospital from a fever? How bad is it?"
"He's in ICU!" Savannah yelled, almost before he could finish talking. Tears had begun to well up in her eyes and were starting to overflow. The realization of seeing her like this shocked both of them so that they just stared at each other.
Slowly approaching Savannah, Phil laid his hand on her shoulder in a comforting way.
"It'll be alright," he said, not really knowing what he was talking about. He desperately searched his mind for an answer to the problem, but was interrupted by Savannah's crying.
"My brothers going to die!" she wailed.
Phil replied, "No, he's not. And in case you've forgotten, he's my friend and I want to save him as much as you do."
Savannah continued crying and Phil maneuvered so that he could look into her eyes. He gently massaged her shoulder as he tried to calm her down.
"Dude, everything's going to be okay, I promise. We just need to concentrate. Miles is a positive thinker; now you have to think positive for Miles." Phil mentally applauded himself on his wonderful lecture. Savannah nodded and was quiet.
Finally she turned away, wiping her eyes, embarrassed. "Look, we…we need to find Nim," she managed to say, sniffing. "I mean, he might've moved by now, and…"
Phil wrapped his arms around her. He didn't really know what he was doing, but he'd seen it in movies and both people felt better then. He wasn't sure if it would work for Savannah, though.
But she just relaxed. It was a little unnerving, even. So unnerving, that Phil started thinking about what he should say in this situation.
In the end, he just caved; "Look, dude," he stumbled, "If…if they really need to see Nim, then…then, uh, I guess Miles will be okay with it. I mean, if he's in ICU and all…"
Savannah, making up her mind, leaned in to kiss Phil lightly on the cheek. Her aim was off. She hit his mouth. She and Phil were caught in the moment they were kissing without thoughts.
He went numb. She kissed him. Phil. It was so not what he expected that it took him about five full seconds to realize it was happening. Savannah was kissing him. Only about a month ago she and her friend Amber tried to trick Miles into kissing Amber – teasing him! Except Amber wasn't a friend's sister. Miles was definitely going to kill him.
So he should stop. He was betraying Miles as a friend – his best friend – by kissing his sister. So he should stop. Stop and pretend it never happened.
It wouldn't work, anyway. Among the facts that Miles would never allow it and that she already had a boyfriend who probably wouldn't mind sending him into ICU with Miles if anything actually happened. That Miles would be so angry with him that he probably wouldn't care.
But it felt kinda good…
He'd be known around school as the kid who dated his friends' sisters.
He'd never been kissed before…
He'd never have another friend again…
Savannah would like him…
His parents would be so upset that they'd probably ground him…
Savannah did like him, right?
…or worse, disown him…
Kisses were really nice…
Dude, she was Miles' sister!
What if he just decided he might like her?
This was going to be his death sentence.
What if Miles said it was okay?
Nim was right there staring at them.
…Nim was right there staring at them!
Phil broke away from Savannah's kiss, staring at Nim. She stared at Phil, looking shocked, but he still felt too numb to figure which reasons why.
"Nim?" he formed with his numb mouth, just getting the sound out.
Savannah whipped around and looked at Nim, too. Nim made his piteous cry but didn't move.
Savannah took a step forward. "Nim, come here," she tried, but Nim only ran back into the kitchen.
"Nim!" Phil called, hurrying after the strange sea-creature.
Savannah followed suit, "Nimmie!"
They followed him. Savannah walked over to the dog crate and picked it up while Phil tried to recapture Nim, to no success.
"Nimmie!" Savannah called again, desperately, trying to corner him. Nim shrank back and hissed.
"C'mon, Nim, we're going to see Miles," Savannah tried. Nim still stayed away.
The phone rang and both Savannah and Phil looked at it. Nim took the time to run away from them again.
"Nim!" Savannah called, frantically.
The phone rang again. Savannah looked from it to where Nim went and then at Phil.
They made eye contact and she seemed to hesitate before saying, "Find Nim," and going to get the phone.
Phil stared at her. Of all the things she could have said…but no matter. Not now.
He looked around the kitchen and his eyes landed on the salt. Miles had told him how Nim seemed to love salt.
Miles was going to kill him.
But he'd deal with that later.
He grabbed the salt and sprinkled it in front of the kennel that Savannah had been planning to carry Nim in, then stood back.
Nim poked his head around the corner and looked from the salt to Phil. Phil held his hands up, and Nim darted for the salt in the dog crate. As soon as he was inside, Phil slammed the crate's cage shut, and Nim started crying loudly.
Savannah looked over and hastily said into the phone, "I've got to go."
She came over and picked up the cage.
"Who was that?" Phil asked.
She didn't look at him, just lugged the cage with Nim inside, attempting to escape from it, and said, "I have to get back to the hospital."
"I have to go!" She looked back at Phil, paused, then ran out the front door, not even bothering to look back as she opened her car door, flung the cage into the seat next to her and drove off.
From the doorway, Phil wondered how screwed he'd be when Miles found out. Was Savannah mad about the kiss? Was she going to tell Miles? Would they ever be able to act normally around Miles again? He supposed he'd really messed up this time. If Miles found out he'd be done for.
Maybe Miles' ESP would fail and Nim wouldn't be able to tell him anything.